Rebecca and Jason have both spent pretty much as long in the world of coworking as one can spend (it’s a really new industry), and just as much time together (they are now married), so this story goes all the way back to the year 2009, the year it all began.
Things kicked off when Rebecca moved to San Francisco, launching the second office of her graphic design firm, Tribecca Designs. She was working remotely from her NYC-based team for the first time. Being on the opposite coast from her staff – and working from a home office to boot – Rebecca felt she was slowly going insane. She was unmotivated and lonely, and looked to her cats for advice and companionship that, while loving, they were unable to sufficiently provide.
A friend proposed the idea of a collaborative space for creatives; a way to get out of the house, be around intelligent people, share resources and expenses, collaborate on larger projects, and project a more professional image to clients.
Rebecca jumped at the chance to create such an environment and committed to leading the charge. The result was NextSpace San Francisco, one of the first coworking spaces in the city. She spent the next four years expanding NextSpace (with Jason as CTO) until it boasted nine locations throughout the country and was ranked the “#1 Coworking Space in the US in 2014".
In 2014, Rebecca and Jason began to discuss how coworking could level up even further. They felt there was a lot more that coworking could do for members that would both help the community thrive as well as generate additional revenue, for example they:
- Watched members leave the space on a daily basis to buy coffee across the street at Starbucks, when the beans NextSpace provided for free were much better.
- Saw people take time out of their very busy day having to go out to buy lunch.
- Knew members craved more social and networking opportunities than weekly happy hours provided.
- Realized members wanted to give back and support the community, but had few opportunities to do so.
- Thought about the other conveniences and amenities members paid for on a regular basis, and how offering them on site might fit around the nucleus of the workspace.
As they explored the idea, another of our 6 core values emerged – Inclusivity. Most coworking spaces exist on office floors in an ivory tower-type setting, available only to those in-the-know. Rebecca and Jason felt that coworking is so incredibly valuable, almost everyone can and should be able to benefit. To that end, it should be easy for the general public to reach and use the space, with higher levels of security, access, and exclusivity available for those who need or want it.
From those ideas a model evolved combining a public café and coworking lounge on Covo’s main floor, as well as monthly coworking on its mezzanine and lower level.
Rounding out the inclusivity concept are discounted non-profit rates, sponsorships for those less financially fortunate, and a mentorship program for seasoned professionals who want to share their business acumen with today’s budding entrepreneurs.
Having always wanted to found a business together, Rebecca and Jason set out to make this new concept a reality, soon picking up Dan, Rebecca’s brother, as a third cofounder. Between Rebecca’s coworking experience and business savvy, Jason’s technology brilliance, and Dan’s legal background and operational abilities, they soon realized they’d stumbled upon a power trio of founders. Plus, it was really fun.
So the three of them set about raising money, forming the entity, and searching for the perfect property. A year and a half later, they are on track to open Covo’s flagship location this upcoming July, and it is everything and more than they hoped it would be.